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“A good hotel with very nice views”

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Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A good hotel with very nice views”
Reviewed October 12, 2012

We've spent a week there as a honeymoon couple and we were very pleased.
We had read a ton of bad reviews about this hotel before departing, especially from people who bought the Groupon offer, like us, but we were pleasantly surprised with a painless registration, a spacy room and an astonishing view from the window (also, the bathroom was the size of my bedroom back home)!
The hotel itself consists of three buldings and I suspect that your feelings about the rooms will be tightly connected with the particular part of the hotel they put you in. We stayed in the smallest building to the far left and liked our room very much. We had a chance to get a peek into the other rooms though and the sight was not as rosy - it turned out that the rooms with no lakeview have hardly any windows :o
Coming back to the good things - we got the all inclusive option for the trip and so we could eat three meals a day. Contrary to what other people wrote, the food was delicious and there was enough variety to please almost every palate. The waiting staff was always helpful, although very busy at peak times, so people who are not patient enough to wait two minutes for their coffee might not be satisfied. If you know you'll miss lunch the next day, you can always ask for a packed lunch at the reception desk and they will be happy to help.
As I mentioned before, we were very satisfied with our room. It had a huge bathroom with two sinks, a TV, a working fridge, a couch and a wardrobe as well as a desk and some chairs, so we could not complain about the equipment and furnishing. There was no kettle, but since you could always go downstairs to fetch any drink, I didn't see it as such a problem. The biggest downside of the room were the beds. I've encountered this idea in a few hotels before: if a couple wants a double bed they push two single beds together and hope it works. It does not work, unless the beds have sturdy frames. Otherwise - no cuddling for you, as every move causes the beds to slip apart again :( This could be easily fixed with a couple of screws to keep the beds together, but I guess nobody thought of that... Apart from this the beds were not particularly uncomfortable, but still, we did not get enough sleep any night and that's the only thing I can blame for it.
The views from the hotel are truly stunning and it's worth anything to get a lakeview window. It's true there is a busy street just outside the hotel, but the traffic is not always bad and I bet it's not noisy at all on higher floors.
We haven't seen the roomservice staff, but our beds were made every day, so they must've appeared at some point, waiting for us to leave the room. There was always enough toilet paper, although the towels were not changed at all during our stay.
The hotel has a pool, around three minutes walk from the entrance. The pool is just by the lake, so you can sunbathe, swim and take in the stunning views. The only downside of the pool is that you have to swim in a swimming cap, ridiculous if you ask me! If you intend to swim, bring your own towel and a cap, as there is a charge for renting one and buying the other.
There is a bar downstairs as well, but I can't say too much about it, as we did not spend too much time there. I've only tried one drink from the all inclusive list and I've got to say it was not diluted at all and the portion was generous.
There are two free wi-fi spots at Britannia Excelsior - at the bar and in the lounge area. The connection is not bad, so if you can't live without e-mails and facebook it will save you paying through the nose for data roaming ;)
One more thing about the hotel - its location. Hotel Britannia Excelsior is located in Cadenabbia, a small town with barely anything else in it, but it's very close to bigger towns Mennaggio and Tremezzo (this one within a walking distance), so you can travel to more interesting places quite easily. It's also located just in the opposite shore to Bellaggio, the most popular town on Lake Como. You can travel there by a ferry, departing every 20 or 30 minutes and the ferry stops practically outside the hotel, maybe a two minute walk from the main door. There is also a bus stop and a local tourist train stop, so there's plenty of opportunities to travel around the lake. I recommend visiting Lenno and Villa Balbianello, it's a short trip and well worth it! A 10 minute walk from the hotel will take you to Villa Carlotta, another site worth visiting. If you want to travel further and you've got a car, the trips will take a while, as you have to drive around the lake anytime you want to get out of the area, there's no short way. It takes around 40 minutes to get from Cadenabbia to Como and there you can get on a motorway which will take you straight to Venice and many more places worth visiting.
It's true the hotel is mostly frequented by pensioners, every day there's a new bus full of people over 60. We didn't mind that kind of clientele, but if you're a young traveller looking for party mates, you might not find them at Britannia Excelsior.
I want to stress that we were very happy with our stay and we would recommend the hotel, you just have to check your expectations against the facts you see in reviews :)

Room Tip: The hotel consists of three parts, if you get a room at the smallest building, corner rooms with the...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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5 Thank Agnieszka P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

we have just spent 7 lovely days at this hotel, I must admit after reading some of the negative comments previous to going, we were apprehensive about our welcome! but after a slight hiccup when we arrived two hours early and the rooms weren't ready, (shouldn't really criticise them for that) . We discovered a pleasant if basic room waiting for us. It was spacious and clean, nice beds and then we opened the windows!!!!!!!!! WOW what a spectacular vista we saw. Right across a beautiful lake towards the mountains and villages on the opposite shore. Bellisimo! the holiday just got better and better from then on. trips to Como market, the Bernina railway to St. Moritz and then the icing on the cake a day in Milan! A place to see before you die! A.ll in all a perfect holiday. The sort you don't want to end. (did I mention the sunrises over the mountains while your having breakfast)

Room Tip: ask for a deluxe room on the lakeside, you get your own balcony to drink your vino on!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank raymond d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby
Level Contributor
64 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

Our visit at the end of September 2012 was a cost effective package that included RyanAir flights from East Midlands Airport to Milan, transfers to the hotel and all inclusive meals and drinks, 5 days & 4 nights, and on that basis I have no complaints on overall value for money. But many had paid much more for the same as we were getting and they would be justified in having a few complaints. However, I doubt they will be complaining as this was very much the senior citizens and blue rinse brigade's hotel of choice. During our stay I saw few under 50s and I'd place most residents in the 70 - 90 year age bracket.

The hotel is comfortable and clean with some interesting architectural features like the high ceiling in the dining room area. Most staff appear to have come from places further east of Italy and are so deadpan that those with character and a sense of humour stand out and are in much demand. There are lifts which work to convey you between floors, each of which is rated at 8 people but 6 is more comfortable and nearer to their working limit. Rooms are compact and individual, ditto the en-suite bathrooms. Ours had a bidet, our travelling companions' didn't. If you like power showers then ours was to die for. Beds were made daily, likewise the bathrooms were cleaned daily but during our stay the towels went unchanged.

Not so comfortable was the bar, currently located in the basement (I'm told that it had moved there as during 2011 it was on the ground floor) which appeared to have no ventilation or air conditioning. On nights when there was entertainment it was stuck in the corner and took the form of a classically trained tenor attempting to sign a variety of songs, the most recent being from the 1980s, few of which were a passing resemblence of the original versions and most were purely an assault on the ears of those present. And it got uncomfortably hot and air-less in there as the evenings wore on.

Food is always an emotive subject, Here it was all buffet style for breakfast, lunch and evening dinner. Each was a prime example of quantity over quality. Offerings were unimaginative, there was a distinct lack of fresh fruit (apart from a sorry looking selection of apples) and bread was fresh for breakfast only. Variety doesn't appear to be in the hotel's meal planning and hot breakfasts are only available for 1 of the 3 hours that breakfast is available.

Getting back to more positive news, the hotel offers a number of organised excursions. We went on the Friday visit to St Moritz via the Bernina Express railway. This was excellent but there were 3 coaches and each had its guide a driver for the day. Our pair performed superbly but others were not so happy with their tour guides.

Lastly, the hotel has a lakeside lido about 100 metres from the hotel. It is on the other (lake) side of the road which is busy during the day making the lido a place for an evening visit, except that after 21:00 you have to pay for any drinks and all meals are chargeable (i.e. not part of the all inclusive package).

We enjoyed our visit because we travelled with friends and spent as little time time in the hotel as was necessary. The hotel is well situated. The area is lovely and very photogenic. Access to ferries and bus services is excellent. But the clientelle are at the upper end of the age range and it is not a place for a gormet experience. Decidedly average - yes, it most definitely is just that.

Room Tip: Make sure you visit the roof terrace - it's a good place to lounge about and relax.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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4 Thank Phil C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, UK
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

We chose this hotel in preference to the Cadenabbia (our original first choice) along the road because of reviews on tripadvisor! As others have said - don't believe everything you read. The hotel was shabby (apart from the newly built extension), the food was poor, little or sometimes nothing Italian. To obtain food, it was like a rugby scrum. You would think people were rushing for their last ever meal!

The air conditioning in our room never worked; we complained on many occasions and were told it was fixed. At 5 am one morning, when going to the bathroom, water dripped onto me and I realized there was a large puddle on the floor! We were told to use the ceiling fan instead.

Room Tip: Choose the Cadenabbia down the road; others from our tour stayed there and it was far superior
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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4 Thank Oakydokey49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Cadenabbia di Griante hotels

Portsmouth
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2012

The transfer time from the airport was doubled as we had to wait for another flight from a different terminal, not a great start. The good points about this hotel is its location and the lido 200 yards up the road.
Our room was adequate, we had a rear view room on the 4th floor with an unbroken view over the surrounding hillside. As everything worked we did not feel the need to upgrade. Our travelling companions had a pre-paid upgrade to a side lake view and they were happy enough. Pre-booked upgrades purchased via your travel agents are significantly higher than if paid for at reception. There were many horror stories from fellow travellers of tiny rooms, rooms next to generators,overbooking etc. We actually walked round to the rear of the hotel and some of the rooms you would'nt put a dog in.
The dining experience was the worst ever, we heard the names, scrum, bun fight, Butlins etc but I cannot adequately describe how bad it was. We did not look forward to meal times at all. Trying to find a table is the 1st task, not easy, and when you did get one you had to take turns to join in the bun fight. There was a waiter serving tea and coffee in the morning, wine and water in the evening and he seemed to have perfected the skill of avoiding you (the white was undrinkable). The food is of poor quality eg the baked beans at breakfast made Tesco value beans look like Heinz. Hot breakfast was from 8 to 9am, and this consisted of the same every day, german sausage, fat bacon and scrambled eggs. After 9 you might as well have been on bread and dripping! It was very poor. Why they did not have a "please wait here to be served" policy I do not know. People do not mind waiting if shown to a clean table. Too easy I suppose.
The bar/entertainment area is not like as others have said, like a working mans club, it was much worse than that. Long queues formed to have drinks served to you like pigs swill, which is mostly what it tasted like. If you had those drinks you were drinking for effect, not enjoyment.We used the Bar on one evening only.
The Lido was our sanctuary, we did not mind paying for our drinks after 9pm as they were of top quality.We had a nice clean table inside and Thursdays to Sundays the entertainment was very good. Other nights we used the Victoria Bar down the road.
This is not an all inclusive holiday, it is full board with free drinks and food at mealtimes only.
Finally the opposite side of the Lake is the superior side, as you will discover when you go to Bellagio etc.

Room Tip: Select a high floor or the best advice is to take note of the rankings and choose another hotel.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
11 Thank WinstonPortsmouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hampshire, england
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 4, 2012

We've just returned from a 5 day break at this hotel. We were nervous after reading some reviews, but it far surpassed our expectations. The room was large (rm 435), amazing views over the lake and classic Italian style. The hotel was full - we asked reception, but in no way did you feel it was busy, there are lots of lovely sitting areas with plenty of space, all with gorgeous lake views. The dining room is decorated in a very elegant style - and everywhere was clean and tidy. We had some great fun in the Lido, the food was excellent, the views from the roof terrace are exceptional, and the entertainment (a live band) was lively and good quality. We would highly recommend this hotel - clean, spacious, good service, an excellent base, directly opposite Bellagio and easy access to many other local towns/villages. We had a breathtaking visit to the Villa James Bond/Casino Royale was filmed at, again a short boat/ferry trip away. The owners were on site, helpful and kind. We found the reception staff very efficient. All in all, we would highly recommend this hotel for value for money.

Room Tip: Room 435 was large and spacious, very Italian in style with breathtaking views across the lake to Be...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank palms97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alloa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2012

Just arrived back today from the Britannia Excelsior - as with the majority of the reviews - it is a free-for-all at meals (lookout for the coffin dodgers with elbows like spears!) We had a great time, food fine, the pizza was brilliant, as was the soup. Pastas were very palatable - the sauces were good too. Veggies overdone on more than several occasions, meat was excellent, fish very good! Desserts very unimaginable, but ice creams and sorbets - WOW!!! Most of the staff very,very,helpful and very willing to get something that was needed, i.e. T-bags. Rooms clean, although shelves in the bathroom would have been beneficial, toiletries lying about the floor wasn't good. We'd go back though, it's not a five star hotel, but obviously some people expect champagne treatment for lemonade money! We met some great company too! Yes, we'd go back.

Room Tip: The terrace is lovely in the evening.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank gracebird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior

Property: Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior
Address: Via Regina 41, 22011 Cadenabbia di Griante, Italy
Location: Italy > Lombardy > Lake Como > Cadenabbia di Griante
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Cadenabbia di Griante
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior 3*
Number of rooms: 284
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Britannia Excelsior is set on the shores of Lake Como and is a former 19th-century inn. The beautiful guest rooms are tastefully decorated with luxury fabrics and antique furniture. The hotel boasts four bars four restaurants and two swimming pools open seasonally.RnrnJust 50 metres from the Cadenabbia landing dock, the Britannia Excelsior offers free parking and beautiful views of Bellagio. RnrnThe centre of Griante is a 10 minutes' walk away. Free public parking is available near the swimming pool. All rooms at the Britannia Excelsior Hotel are equipped with satellite TV and private bathroom with shower and hairdryer. Some rooms overlook the lake and some even have a balcony. RnrnFree Wi-Fi is available in the public areas and breakfast is a continental-style buffet available daily in the main restaurant. Both the buffet-style restaurant and the a la carte, lakeside restaurant specialise in classic Italian and international cuisine. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Britannia Excelsior Hotel
Hotel Britannia Excelsior Cadenabbia
Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior Lake Como/Cadenabbia Di Griante, Italy

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